Altman's Billiards

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

When it’s a great fit, it works out well!  Bob and Karen Altman know this from 31 years of experience in the spa and billiard industry.

It all began when Bob Altman had a brother-in-law that was a professional billiard player.  He taught young Bob how to fix and refurbish pool tables.  Seizing an opportunity, Altman looked beyond service and repair of billiard tables and began selling them, right out of his apartment!

In 1996 Bob and Karen married and launched Altman’s Billiards as a full-time home-based company.  Within 3 years the business had outgrown their house they looked for a larger, more professional retail space.  They signed the lease on the Bloomington location and expanded their inventory to include bars, bar stools, recreational furniture and other products. In 2002 they attended their first Aqua Show and added hot tubs, backyard barbeque and patio furnishings to their product lines.

Karen feels that what sets Altman’s apart from the competition is their home-based atmosphere. She states, “We came from a home-based business and, even though our store is much larger now, we still feel like our customers are visiting our home.”  On the weekends the Altman’s schedule cook-outs and offer refreshments to their customers. “Even my dog comes to work with me!” says Karen with a laugh. But the Altman’s are serious contenders in the retail hot tub industry. “We may be homegrown, but we can play in the larger market!”  It’s a perfect blend in marriage and in business as Karen takes on more of the administration and financial work while Bob focuses on the sales and service side.

Over the 31 years of business, Karen sees a trend happening throughout the brick and mortar retail industry.  “It’s become harder to find the right people,” she states. “Right now we have a great staff.  They are the right blend and very stable.  They know what to do and they do it!” she adds proudly. 

Another challenge she notes is competition from the internet for customers' discretionary spending. “Now that is a whole other conversation,” Karen says with a laugh. “But, it’s not new to us.  We started out selling a discretionary product and we still sell discretionary products, so we’re used to it I guess!” she adds.

The Altman’s know 2017 is going to be a good year.  Karen feels they have a great staff and a great product mix. They are also looking to purchase the building in Bloomington and add on to expand the showroom.  “So, 2017 is going to be more of the same but with an upswing!” says Karen. “We’re just getting better at it!”

Karen is happy they began carrying Nordic Hot Tubs in 2003. “We love their simplicity and they NEVER break!” she states.  “We never do service call on Nordics. We LOVE that!”  She also enjoys that Nordic has Dealer Incentive Programs.  “Bob is all about this year’s incentive!” she states.

Asked if she had advice for other dealers, Karen responds, “Play by the rules and, if there is an incentive or offer out there, GO for it!”  She adds, “Focus on getting the incentives and you will sell more product! Do what you do best and everybody wins!”

The Altmans and their Sales Team can be reached through the website and on Facebook.

      Atlmans Full LogoAltman Bloomington ExtAltman's Billiards and Barstools located at 2036 Ireland Grove Road, Bloomington, IL.

Altman Urbana ExtAltman's Billiards & Barstools
2nd location, 1006 N Cunningham, Urbana, IL.

Altmans BobKaren in tub 7703Bob and Karen Altman, take a coffee break with Daisy in a Nordic Retreat™.
Altmans Nordic Display 7699A very tropical Nordic Display at Altman's Billiards & Barstools in Bloomington, IL.



Paradise Pool and Spa - NC

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

What does it take to keep a 5-star rating on your business?  Wayne Currin, co-owner of Paradise Spas in Garner, North Carolina knows that it’s simple but it it’s not easy.  Currin feels the way they have gained their stellar rating is through extreme customer service. “We give our customers recognition,” states Currin. “Because of this we have a 100% customer satisfaction rating on Yelp and Facebook.  We also have an A+ rating with the BBB. We worked hard to get it and we work very hard to keep it!”

So, besides a great rating what sets Paradise Spas apart from the competition? “Experience,” Currin responds quickly.  Both Currin and co-owner, Ray Kopp, have over 40 years combined experience in the pool and spa industry. 

For 17 years, Currin managed multiple corporate pool and spa stores within North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. His people skills along with his business acumen propelled him and his store to a ‘Top 5’ sales ranking within his corporation. Through this position he met Kopp and was impressed with his skill, experience and integrity. 

Kopp began his career installing pools, spas and billiard tables.  He worked his way from Technician into Service Manager and subsequently, Trainer.  It was while he was a Trainer that he and Currin met. They established a friendship and, in 2013, the idea for Paradise Spas became a reality.

Although Currin has a very laid-back demeanor, he is a fierce competitor when it comes to selling hot tubs.  He is constantly evaluating locations and product mix to make sure Paradise Spas is carrying the right inventory for their customer base. “We want to get every spa deal that comes through the door,” says Currin with a grin. He adds, “By moving relocating, we doubled our sales in 1 year! We boomed right away!”

When asked what he is looking forward to for this year, Currin immediately responds, “Everything!”  His goals this year are to increase sales, add staff and help every customer find the right product to fit their needs.   At the moment he doesn’t have any plans for expansion but, as the business grows, he and Kopp continue to evaluate their growth plan.

In 2015, Currin and Kopp made the decision to bring Nordic Hot Tubs into their showroom.  They are both happy with their decision. “What I like most about Nordic is the Lifetime Warranty, the Whirlpool Therapy and the lack of service calls we have to make,” states Currin.  “We made 1 service call on a Nordic Tub last year!” 

As an experienced business person and trainer to the industry, Currin has definite ideas of how to effectively run a successful business.  He has this advice for other dealers, “Help keep our industry a good one! Keep your customers happy! Tell them about the products you offer, don’t beat up the competition and stay positive.  It makes a difference in the long run.”

Wayne Currin, Ray Kopp and the Paradise Sales Team can be reached through the website or find them on Facebook!
      Paradise Logo CropParadise Garner ExteriorParadise Pools & Spas New Location
at 5560 NC 42 West
Garner, North Carolina.

Paradise Greensboro StoreParadise Pools & Spas at
702 Guilford College Road
Greensboro, North Carolina.

Paradis Garner InteriorInterior Hot Tub Display for
Paradise Pools & Spas.

Paradise Interior Nordic DisplayA creative Nordic Display at
Paradise Pools & Spas.


Long's Wet & Wild

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

Ask Scott Long most anything about the pool and hot tub industry and you’ll get a straight answer.  Long is the owner of Long’s Wet and Wild Spas & Pools in New Philadelphia, Ohio.  As a 2nd generation pool and hot tub retailer, Long has extensive knowledge and training in the industry.

Starting out in 1974 as an excavating company, Scott’s parents, Bob and Linda Long, were asked to build pools.  Seeing the opportunity in that line of work, they grew the company into a thriving pool and hot tub business.  “We do some in-ground pool work now, but mostly it’s above-ground pools and hot tubs,” states Long.   Long’s Wet and Wild Spas employs 6 full-time year-round staff and doubles to 12 during the busy summer pool season.

Long knows that his business is built on great relationships with customers. “We give all our customers great customer service which turns into long-term relationships, even friendships,” says Long.  “Our people are knowledgeable, helpful and a great resource of information for our customers.”  He accomplishes this through training and personally working with his Sales Team.  “I’m in the store everyday,” states Long.

Having been in business for 42 years, Long’s Wet and Wild Spas has forged on through challenges and changes.  In 1995, Bob Long passed away unexpectedly and Scott took over the management of the company.  He had to learn things quickly even though he had essentially grown up working in the business.  Long’s determination and resiliency helped him push through to build an even stronger business.

What Long currently finds most challenging is hot tub competition from the internet.  “Customers look at the low-ball prices on the internet and expect us to match it. We do what we can to inform them what they are getting for that low price,” says Long. “We constantly review our prices so we’re competitive.” He goes on to say, “We don’t just sell Nordic Hot Tubs, we sell Nordic as a company. We tell our customers how easy Nordic is to work with and how they support their products.” He finds once he can inform the customer of how reliable the manufacturer is, the customer purchases with confidence.

Looking back on 2016, Long states, “Hot tub sales were good this year.” His plan is to continue the pace well into 2017. “Because hot tub sales have been good and are more year round, we are going to try to stay more focused on that, even during our busy pool season,” states Long.  He has plans to rework his current website to help channel traffic through to his store. “Yeah, we’re going to work on that soon!” he says with a grin.

Long has carried Nordic Hot Tubs since Nordic began.  What keeps him selling the Nordic brand? “The people!” says Long quickly. “Nordic is our favorite vendor to work with. They have great service and the product is reliable.”  He knows that when he sells a Nordic hot tub, it will be years before he will make a service call for that customer.

“It [the pool and spa industry] can be a tough business!” states Long.  But he gives this advice to other dealers, “The biggest thing is to give great attention to your good customers. Don’t get distracted by the ones that just want information. Give your attention to your loyal customers. They are important!”

Long and the Long's Wet N Wild Sales Team can be contacted through the website!

      Longs Wet N Wild StoreLongs InteriorLongs Wet & Wild Showroom
located at 1065 High Ave 
New Philadelphia, OH.